Have you ever thought Jesus’ teachings were unacceptable? If I’m honest, I must admit that I have, and it appears I am not alone. Our gospel text this week read, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” (John 6:60). While we might not object to Jesus’ teaching for the same reasons as the Jews of his day, we have our own reasons to find it difficult and even almost unacceptable. Is Jesus really Living Bread? Does he really give us eternal life? And if, so what does that even mean? If it feels unacceptable to you on your own you are not alone. Jesus’ teaching about eating his flesh and drinking his blood isn’t something we can figure out and accept on our own. In his explanation of the third article of the Apostles’ Creed, Martin Luther writes these often-quoted and memorized words: “I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him.” The question of accepting Jesus’ difficult teachings gets turned on its head. No one can accept it! The good news of Jesus is too radical, unsettling, and illogical for us to accept. Through the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit we are able to echo Peter’s profession of faith: “You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69). Like Peter, we have come to believe—despite our doubts and weakness of faith—through the Spirit’s work in the word. Like Peter, we come to the table, and perhaps we don’t accept, but rather, we receive Christ, our Living Bread.
The scriptures for this Sunday are Psalm 34:15-22, Galatians 6:10-20, and John 6:56-69. Songs for this Sunday are #720 “We Are Called” vs. 1-2, #482 “I Come with Joy” vs. 1-3, #491 “Come, Let Us Eat”, and #625 “Come, We That Love the Lord” (We’re Marching to Zion”) vs. 1-2. We give thanks to this week’s Worship Leaders, Production Crew, Musicians, and Deacon Bri!